Long known for its commitment to banking privacy, Switzerland makes sense as a place where anonymous crypto-currencies would thrive. Ralph Atkins and Philip Stafford report in the FT on plans in Switzerland for a new market infrastructure which will enhance traders’ ability to swap crypto-currencies. They write:
Switzerland’s stock exchange is seeking a global lead in the trading of digital assets, announcing plans for new market infrastructure which will boost the country’s credentials as a “crypto nation”.
The platform being built by the Six exchange is designed to be used for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and other digital assets, and will be based mainly on Blockchain distributed ledger technology. As well as trading, the Six digital exchange will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody.
Jos Dijsselhof, Six’s chief executive, said: “For us it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”
Digital currency systems were developed as an alternative to the global monetary system and potentially disruptive ways of conducting financial transactions. But many industry executives accept they will have to be “professionalised” to turn them from niche interests into trading and payments systems used by millions.
Six, which is regulated by Finma, the Swiss financial supervisor, and the Swiss central bank, said it expected its digital exchange would “enjoy the same standard of oversight and regulation”. The first services would be rolled out in the first half of 2019, it said on Friday.
Despite scepticism among regulators globally, Switzerland has sought to steal a lead in the emerging financial products. This year, Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, said Switzerland wanted to become the “crypto nation”. Crypto start-ups have been attracted to Switzerland by its regulatory and tax environment, with the tiny canton of Zug, close to Zurich, promoting itself as the heart of “crypto valley”.
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